W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > June 2002

RE: X11 Colors (was Last call comments on CSS3 module: color)

From: Doug Schepers <doug@schepers.cc>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 04:08:50 -0400
To: <www-style@w3.org>

I respectfully disagree with the suggestion to do away with named colors.
While one may become  accustomed to using number values when creating Web
content, it is neither intuitive nor easy to maintain. I think that we
should not throw out the consideration that humans (that's us) have to read
and write this code, as well as machines. When refactoring a a style sheet,
seeing at a glance the existing colors is vastly preferable to looking them
up on a chart. Not all content creators are technical.

From what I have read of CNS (Chris Lilley's proposal), a formalized syntax
with which to describe a color sounds both very workable (there are
relatively few terms to learn, but which allow a wide permutation of colors)
and desirable (it makes it easier to code and maintain).

While I'm a native English speaker, I understand the need for a more
international consideration. Having a system that requires little initial
investment to learn certainly would address that --in contrast to the
laundrylist of obscure color names that X-11 boasts (such as the beloved and
reviled "cornflowerblue" ;).

I can understand why people may not like X-11 (dark gray is lighter than
gray?!), but what does having color names hurt?

My two cents-

Chris Haynes wrote:
> May I offer some thoughts as someone who designs interactive web
> services, and knows enough about color to know that he doesn't
> understand enough?
> I initially got quite excited by suggestions that we might define
> colors using expressions such as:
>     border: thin dotted light dull shimmering cyan-blue;
>     background: light vivid yellow-green;
>     color: grimy rich magenta;
> but then I thought about how I actually use color.
> For the static description of color I'm quite content to use hex RGB
> values.
> I use a color swatch which gives me the RGB values, and the additional
> value of having words to describe a color is mimimal for me, in fact
> it is an extra step which I never take.
> All th color selection tools I have seen generated RGB values, so no
> value there.
> What would be useful for me would be the color equivalent of
>         font-size: larger;
> which would modify a color defined elsewhere (maybe even in a style
> sheet I do not have access to).
> I'm thinking of something like:
>      background-color: lighter;
>      border-color: paler;
>      color: redder;
> where the terms lighter, paler, redder are modifying an existing color
> in different (quasi-orthogonal?) ways.
> I'm sure that this would need a lot more work to get the color theory
> right, then to define the algorithm behind the modifiers so that all
> browsers would work in the same way, so is hardly a suitable proposal
> for a Last Call modification (unless this work has already been done
> somewhere else).
> So, as far as the CSS3 color module is concerned, I would be quite
> content for it to indicate the demise of named colors, in whatever
> standards-lingo is appropriate.
> Chris Haynes
Received on Monday, 3 June 2002 04:07:57 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Monday, 2 May 2016 14:27:02 UTC